When Vultures Fly Over A City

In July 2016, I joined a new company in Ghaziabad, a town in UP bordering Delhi.  It wasn’t, honestly speaking, my idea of a dream job, but I was stuck in a situation where I had to keep moving, irrespective of the consequences. Yes, I knew instinctively that I had a rough ride ahead…

With my inner world engulfed by a bleak, overcast sky, I landed into my new assignment in mid-July 2016, quite unaware that a similar kind of a sky, a real one, not an imaginary one generated out of anxiety and uncertainty, hovered right over my head.

During my very first week of joining, I noticed that immediately after reaching the NH24 in Ghaziabad, the sky suddenly gets filled up with thousands of encircling birds, mostly vultures, apart from crows and pigeons, looking very aggressive, ready to swoop on anything that caught their fancy. A few of them, exhausted perhaps, remain perched on trees, buildings, and poles, gazing at the world around them in grim, stoic silence with their sharp, watchful eyes…

This sight always gave me a very scary feeling and all I wanted at that time was to escape at the earliest. It reminded me of the famously repetitive line from Govind Nihalini’s television film Tamas based on Indo-Pak partition in 1947, “Is sheher par ek din cheelen udengi.” This line in Hindi, which means ‘One day vultures will fly over this city’ has very ominous connotations. It bears a horrible stench of thousands of corpses put together. It sets you off on a journey through negativity and everything else that’s associated with death because of man’s greed and callousness towards fellow human beings.

A colleague of mine suggested that “There must be a huge amount of garbage close by.”

She was right. A day or two later, my eyes spotted a huge mountain of garbage near that site. It was late evening and the sun had already set. Several little fires were burning on this mountain…

I still don’t know what the future holds for me and I have no idea where I am heading to. Maybe, with the passage of time, I might just settle down in my present job…But one thing is certain. This mountain of garbage must disappear and all the others in UP.

Dear Chief Minister Yogi Adityanathji, I hope you are listening. Please get this mountain of garbage eradicated, just like the street Romeos and criminals, and ensure that new ones don’t come up again…

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